heard about 5G
but what does it mean for
your building & DAS?
The connectivity industry is still wrapping up the development of 5G in-building antennas and receiving equipment, but we’re already busy getting buildings equipped with essential infrastructure ahead of the inevitable 5G DAS rush. Why start now when some of the tech is still in development? Here’s what we know for sure…
5G Bandwidth and Speed will require “fiber to the edge”.
While 4G/LTE and earlier DAS frequently made use of coaxial cable, 5G connectivity requires DAS with fiber-optic cable stretching from the where the cell signal enters your building (your “BTS”) all the way to the distributed antennas. If your building is already equipped with a “fiber backbone” you’re ahead of the crowd as most DAS systems can make use of this existing infrastructure – but no worries if not, we can do that for you. In any case, now is a great time to get ahead of the 5G rush by getting your fiber to the edge infrastructure in place so that the eventual switch to next-gen tech only requires a “blade swap” in your BTS and a few antenna changes.
5G “Millimeter Waves” will have less range/strength and penetrating power.
There’s a tradeoff between data speed, signal range/strength, and the power required to improve both. Everyone wants to double their data speeds while keeping range consistent, but we’d likely be disappointed if that meant that our device batteries lasted half as long as they did before. The 5G solution? Increase data speed, keep power consumption the same, and decrease signal range/ strength. This means that indoor connectivity will be more DAS dependent than ever as signals from outside will have a harder time penetrating windows and walls, and that additional antennas may be required to supplement existing systems to overcome new issues from indoor architectural obstructions.
Distributed Antenna Systems
How they work
Indoor connectivity issues arise when the signal from nearby outdoor cell towers can’t penetrate a building’s exterior, or when the available signal is spread across too many users or devices.
A distributed antenna system, or DAS, can help solve both of these problems. Think of a DAS as an indoor cell tower, entirely dedicated to a single building. The system brings signal indoors by either piping it in from an exterior- mounted “donor antenna”, a standard data connection, or a carrier-managed “base transceiver station”.
This signal is then distributed throughout the building using a network of inconspicuous antennas, providing both the coverage and bandwidth necessary to resolve cellular network availability and performance issues.
Components, Space, and Mechanical Requirements.
The core of a DAS and ultimate connection point between carrier signal-source and the building’s network of distributed antennas, the headend is typically installed in a building’s telephone or network equipment room. While individual system demands may vary, this equipment may require a relatively significant amount of space and dedicated HVAC resources – something upon which we can work with your engineering staff
All of the cabling that connects a DAS headend to the system’s distributed antennas is known as “backhaul”. Unlike some of our competitors who propose running backhaul through HVAC, our professional installers will work with your building’s existing risers and cable trays and can tap into your existing fiber core or install a new one
The small antennas used in DAS projects resemble a standard smoke detector and are similarly mounted overhead. We understand that to your tenants, design matters, so we’re happy to “roll with the punches” to find creative solutions to resolving connectivity issues in design-forward spaces that don’t require sacrificing on aesthetics
If you’re having connectivity issues in your building, despite being in an area that receives adequate outdoor coverage, a donor antenna can be used to capture an exterior signal which is then “piped” to your system’s headend. Some small office donor antennas can be mounted inconspicuously in a window, while other circumstances may require the installation of an exterior or roof-mounted antenna